There are many days that a Church is built upon, that give us our identity, the most important being Christmas, Easter, Pentecost as well as feast days like Our Lady of Guadalupe (Dec 12) and St Anthony Claret (Oct 24). There is one more date that gives our parish our identity and that has been our Festival of Nations. For 18 years we have celebrated the blessing of our great diversity as a parish and in recent years added a theme to this celebration and our parish: Many nations, one family.
In some sense this is not just a theme of our parish, this is the theme of our Catholic faith. To be one family, as all of Scripture, especially St Paul speaks of, is the heart of who we are. St Ignatius of Antioch (around 100ad) and St Cyril of Jerusalem (around 380) used the Greek word “katolikos” (catholic) to describe that we are universal/in the “whole” of the world. But it is not enough that we are simply everywhere, we are called to be one family.
In our broken world, sometimes people are part of a family in name only and the same is true too often with our Catholic family. Family, especially our Catholic family, is more than a name, it is a relationship. As with all families, it is built on coming together, it is built on spending time together, and celebrating with each other. Although we are very different, although sometimes dysfunctional, we are not complete without each other. This is felt in the Sunday celebrations when the church is full or not.
I would like to take this time to thank everyone who contributed to bringing us together from the families and restaurants that provided the food or supplies, to the dozens of volunteers who planned, set up, served, and cleaned up for the event, to the entertainment to the sponsors, each of you are an indispensable part of our family, each of you help us to live up to our name catholic, each of you show why Sacred Heart is more than a church, it is a family always with more room at our table.
With a heart for Mission,